I got an interesting call this week. A person who has never been a friend or even a particularly nice colleague contacted me to schedule a lunch date. Why? It turns out he needs a job.
One word, or rather one sound: Grrrr …
Needing a job can be a scary, scary situation, and I feel for this guy, but when I got his call and a couple of pushy follow-up e-mails regarding when I would be available to provide career advice and a list of leads, I wanted to respond in capital letters, “YOU HAVE BEEN CRANKY AND MEAN TO ME FOR YEARS, WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I AM GOING TO COME TO YOUR RESCUE NOW?”
I probably sound harsh, but I am stunned that a person could assume it is appropriate to expect special consideration when he has never ever offered even the slightest bit of kindness during the many years we have known each other. Will I do my best to send opportunities his way? Of course. Will I knock myself for him? Probably not.
Position power is fleeting and folks who rely on their fancy titles are likely to find themselves quite alone when political winds change and their jobs disappear. The people who tend to weather adversity most effectively are those who are well liked, have broad and deep networks, possess special expertise, and have “chits in the bank” from which to draw. The fellow who called me seemed to think that because we attended meetings together, it’s reasonable to ask me to drop everything to help him through his temporary crisis. Guess what? I don’t agree.
Is my perspective unreasonable? Any advice about how to (kindly) explain my lack of interest in being a personal career coach to someone who has been consistently snarky and sarcastic to me in the past?